What a Rush!
Cocaine Bear isn't as wild as its title suggests
Every now and then, Hollywood attempts to mimic the insane style of horror B-movies and, despite some noble effort, never quite accomplishes its goal. A film like Snakes on a Plane never seems to reach the energy and creativity of, say, Joe Dante's Piranha. Likewise, the new film Cocaine Bear feels like it should be a blast from start to finish, but it doesn't really live up to its ridiculous title. Despite some impressive special effects and setpieces as well as some surprisingly decent performances, I just can't help but wonder what Roger Corman or the wacky folks at Troma could do with this golden idea.
Set in 1985 and based on a (kind of) true story, a large amount of cocaine gets lost in a Georgia national park after a drug smuggling attempt goes horribly wrong. Needing to recover his product, a feared crime lord (Ray Liotta in his final performance) sends a duo of criminals into the woods to retrieve it. However, a 500-pound black bear has found it first and now an assortment of visitors must deal with the drug-fueled apex predator.
With a plot that could never be taken seriously, the film rests solely on a single gag: what if a bear was on cocaine? That said, director Elizabeth Banks gives us an unexpected amount of character development and some genuinely likable characters before getting to the gory bits. But it is still not quite enough to carry the film for its short runtime. A film called Cocaine Bear feels like it should be pure mayhem from beginning to end, but it instead starts with a bang and settles into a whimper.
Directed by Elizabeth Banks // Written by Jimmy Warden // Starring Keri Russell, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Christian Convery, Brooklynn Prince, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Aaron Holliday, Isiah Whitlock Jr., J.B. Moore, Leo Hanna, Ayoola Smart, Margo Martindale, and Ray Liotta // 95 minutes // Rated R // Universal Pictures